Main Content

Network Publication

Doing Digital Film History: Concepts, Tools and Practices (working title)
Sarah-Mai Dang, Tim van der Heijden, and Christian Gosvig Olesen (editors)
Digital History and Hermeneutics (Book series, edited by Andreas Fickers, Valérie Schafer, Sean Takats, and Gerben Zaagsma), De Gruyter, Oldenbourg (2023)

How has the digital turn shaped the practices of “doing film history” in both research and teaching? That is the main question the book volume Doing Digital Film History: Concepts, Tools and Practices (working title) seeks to address. While computational approaches to study (film) history were used already in the 1960s and 1970s, it is particularly in the last decade that we witness the arrival and use of new introductions, applications and variations of concepts from multiple disciplines. These are strongly entangled with the use and reflection of computational tools and methods for searching, analyzing, visualizing, interpreting and thinking about film history. Both at the level of "close" and "distant" - or “scalable” - reading or viewing, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, as well as those approaches in between. From digital film archival practices and database-driven search in both small and large film historical collections to the visualization and “distant viewing” of film historical materials as well as their dissemination on digital platforms.

This volume aims to contribute to the discussion on the epistemological, conceptual and methodological conditions of digital film historiography. It thereby specifically focuses on the concepts, tools and practices and their interrelations in digital film historical research and teaching. As such, the volume addresses the following three central sub-questions: What concepts have been (re)introduced, and how have they established "new" ways of thinking? What new tools and methods have emerged, and how have they enabled new ways of searching, analyzing, visualizing and interpreting films? What new practices have emerged in digital film research and teaching, and what have been their methodological and epistemological implications for our historical narration and understanding?

Doing Digital Film History is reflecting these different spheres of the production, communication and conveying of knowledge. Assuming that the challenges and potentials of digital tools and technologies can only be understood in their far-reaching dimensions when both applied and critically reflected, the book volume aims to bring together theory with practice. By means of bringing together reflections informed by case studies from multiple perspectives – including the domains of research, teaching, dissemination, and the archive – the book volume collaboratively and interdisciplinary explores the impact of the digital turn and reflect on the challenges and potentials of doing film history in the digital age.